Within a few weeks, the Nintendo Switch will be celebrating its second birthday. Yes, it is almost two years since the Nintendo Switch first blessed the gaming community with an omnipresent option to play their video games. With all the buzz the Switch has been receiving, be it for its sheer ingenuity or if the latest games are coming out on it, it’s pretty hard to think that a Ninty console ago, Nintendo was struggling to reach their goals. Get to know the console behind the Switch’s success: the Nintendo WiiU.
We and U
If you had no idea what this was, yet you were part of the millions that enjoyed a Nintendo Wii, a WiiU might simply sound like a deluxe version of the standard Wii. You could compare this mindset with, say, a Samsung S9 and a Samsung S9+. Same general features, but the one with added characters to the name has more oomph.
I don’t blame you. Using letters to denote a shift in a product line isn’t as common as using numbers. Sony has been numbering their Playstation, while Microsoft added degrees to their Xbox. Take into consideration that the original Wii was undeniably family-oriented, unless that family knows their tech speak, then chances are, at first glance, the WiiU was simply an upgraded, slightly better but not totally new Wii that the family isn’t prioritising.
The New “Kid” In Town
As the WiiU was conceived in the eighth generation of console gaming, it boldly stood alongside the gaming powerhouses that are the Xbox One and Playstation 4. You might wonder, “How can the WiiU stand up against these giants?” It already did once, with the Wii dominating the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 in sales; so, graphics aren’t everything. However, we go back to the naming convention that might’ve stunted the WiiU’s potential: people might’ve thought it was a slightly better Wii.
Hardware-wise, the WiiU would be considered as a kid, hanging out with teenage friends; going there, but still a long way. PS4 and Xbox One RAM sat equally at 8GB, while the WiiU’s was at 2GB. Internal storage for both the PS4 and the Xbox One started at 500GB, when the WiiU was 32GB. Both teen units had 4k definition support, while the WiiU’s capped at 1080p. Since the WiiU aimed to draw the “core gamers” back, with these specs, that was a hard sell.
A Switch in Stride
With the WiiU, it seemed Nintendo was desperately latching onto the zeitgeist of gaming at the time. It was with the Switch that Nintendo realised that their strength lies in their ability to break from conformity with their innovations in gaming. The WiiU tried to do what its friends were doing, but the Switch was bold enough to do what it wanted to do, even if the others didn’t do it. A undockable console that can play games on the go, alone or with friends. Indeed, the Switch is a paragon of learning from mistakes.